TAMPA, Fla. — Quarterback Cameron Newton, the No. 1 junior college recruit in the country, committed to Auburn on Thursday night with plans to enroll in school in the next week, according to the Tigers’ three recruiting Web sites.
The 6-foot-6, 245-pound Newton, who was once Tim Tebow’s backup at Florida, becomes an instant candidate to succeed Chris Todd as the Tigers’ starting quarterback in 2010.
A five-star recruit according to Rivals, Newton picked Auburn over Mississippi State and Oklahoma.
The dual threat led Blinn (Texas) Community College to the junior college national title this season, throwing for 2,833 yards and 22 touchdowns and adding another 655 yards and 16 scores on the ground.
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Because he’ll enroll in January, he can participate in spring drills, an important step in competing for the starting quarterback job.
The Tigers’ other candidates include current juniors Neil Caudle and Kodi Burns, redshirt freshman Barrett Trotter and true freshmen Clint Moseley and Tyrik Rollison.
Of those players, only Burns, who switched to wide receiver this season, has started a college game at quarterback.
Newton signed with Florida in 2007 and served as Tebow’s backup for two years. He was suspended from the team last fall after being arrested and charged with stealing another student’s laptop. Those charges were dropped earlier this month after he completed a pretrial intervention program for first-time offenders, according to the Associated Press.
He transferred to Blinn.
Because he earned a medical redshirt his sophomore year, he’ll have two years to play two at Auburn.
He is the fifth recruit who plans to enroll in January, joining two high schoolers — defensive end Craig Sanders and linebacker Jessel Curry — and two other junior college transfers — offensive tackles Roszell Gayden and Brandon Mosley.
All five will count back against last year’s signing class.
The Tigers have 22 other current commitments for 2010.